• The estimated population of
American Indians and Alaska
Natives is 1.5 percent of the total
• Cherokee and the Navajo Native
Americans are the largest tribes.
• Most tribes are found in the
• Reservations are under Indian
jurisdiction and have different
laws than the rest of the United
• On many reservations alcohol is
• The first Native American
reservation was founded in 1786.
• Majority of Native American still
live on reservations today.
• Lived in hunter-gatherer societies.
• Native Americans believed it was acceptable to use every part of the
animal they slaughtered.
• Native Americans preserve their history through stories handed down
through the generations.
• Indian Removal Act
• Trail of Tears
• Some Native American tribes receive benefits from the federal
government for the extraction of natural resources that may be on
the tribes reservation.
• Make money off of tourism and natural resources found on their
• Most American Indians earn below poverty wages.
• 4 – 8 out of 10 adults are unemployed.
• Many do not have health insurance due to low wages.
• Tribal governments are organized democratically with an elected
leader. The governing body is generally referred to as a “council”.
• While Native Americans have their own additional laws they are still
citizens of the United States and need to follow the laws and
regulations set forth by the nation.
• Many Native American councils are where the tribe members prove
their ability to thin, act, and speak in the best interest of all.
• Decisions are made in the best interest of everyone in the tribe.
• The traditional Native American classroom is set up to house 10 – 20 students.
• Classrooms are focused on different skills that the students will be learning for
• Teachers base their teaching off the students’ interests.
• 76% of American Indians age 25 and older have at least a high school
diploma.13% have at least a bachelor's degree.
• One of the most important lessons taught by teachers are manners and
• Native Americans do not use eye contact or facial expressions and believe silence
is a form of communication.
• Many Native American students are more comfortable with hands on learning
and do not respond well to lecture based lessons.
NATIONAL INDIAN EDUCATION
• NIEA, provides educational opportunities for American Indians, Alaska
Natives, and Native Hawaiians throughout the United States.
• The NIEA works to achieve educational equity and excellence, as well
as ensure that all students are provided high-quality academic and
• The NIEA connects Native Americans with tribal colleges and
universities such as:
• Ilisagvik College in Alaska
• Northwest Indian College in Washington
• Diné College in Arizona
• Sinte Gleska University in South Dakota
TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS AND FAMILY LIFE
• Great Spirit Legends
• Native Americans live in harmony with the earth and respecting the
interdependence of all life, animals also play a large role in their traditions.
• Native American believe in natural medicine and natural types of healing.
• In this culture there is no death, only a passing that is celebrated as the spirit
moves on to the next world.
• Everyone on the reservation looks out for young children and bad behavior rarely
• Children are brought up more by their grandparents than their parents.
• The Native American culture also includes different types of hand made pottery
IMMIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES
• 29% of American Indians and Alaska Natives 5 years and older speak a
language other than English at home.
• In 1838, the United States government forcibly removed Cherokee Indian
people from their homeland and sent them to Indian Territories. This is
know as the Trail of Tears
• 4,000 Cherokees died during the trip which culminated the implementation
of the Indian Removal Act
• This stated that all American Indian tribes East of the Mississippi River had
to relocate to the West.
• Signed into law by President Andrew Jackson
• Few tribes left peacefully
• Traveled by foot, horse, covered wagon
• Conditions were harsh and many died
• Literature suggests that cultural values influence the way American Indians
understand their world. There are two examples that point out important
aspects of learning styles:
(1) Learning by observation
(2) The manner in which competence is demonstrated.
• American Indians learn by these important aspects through
practice, observation, self-testing, and by receiving approval through a
demonstration of a task they must perform.
• American Indians do not believe in constant supervision and correction
because this gives individuals the autonomy of knowing when
demonstration or performance of a task is ready for the public.
• However, unlike other cultures, making a mistake in public is not accepted
as a way to learn.
CULTURAL COMMUNICATION STYLES
• In Native American homes, the children
listen and learn, and they are not expected
to talk back, to be rude, etc.
• Although the tribal customs may not
include talk about God, they may talk
• Children must be given the opportunity to
preserve the language both orally and in
written form; otherwise, later in time the
language will be non existent and
• Because each job in the tribe has different
skills that need to be learned, the child is
always mannerly but in motion, not
hyperactive but touching the surrounding
world, and exploring and asking questions
after thinking about the situation.
• For example: the child being prepared as a
chief will be learning different skills than
the child being prepared to be a hunter.
• The classroom has to be challenging so
everything that is learned is used in the
• When tribal elders speak, they use a talking
stick, and the person talking holds the
stick; it is then passed along to the person
who is going to speak next.
• Therefore, if the teacher wants the
students to look at the elder speaking, it
may not happen even though they are still
• If a student does not know the answer, the other students will not answer in an attempt to
“save face”, or not embarrass; even if they really know the answer, he/she will not answer to
attempt to “outdo” the others.
• “The value of this uncompetitive principle is reflective of the belief that no one should be
singled out because the group as a whole is the most important identity.”
• It is so significant for teachers to understand diverse learning styles in the classroom.
• Native Americans do not practice their way of life just on Sundays; they practice it every
minute of the day, seven days a week, year in and year out – they also believe that we all
possess the same spirit and energy even though we may have different qualities, we are all
• American Indians have many different values and some including the following:
• Personal differences
• Open work ethic
CULTURAL COMMUNICATIONS AND
• American Indian children are more introverted and reserved
• They are very good at listening
• They are also very concerned about nature and their surroundings
• These children come from households where there is absolutely no yelling
• Positive feedback is key!
• Children are not to talk back to elders, rude and belligerent behavior is also
• When indigenous children are spoken to they are expected to look down
towards the ground as a sign of respect to the elder speaking to them
• It will be very difficult for children to make eye contact with the teacher
LEARNING STYLES AND THEIR INFLUENCE
• American Indian students were brought up in a community where everything is
• The best way to teach these students is where they are continuously engaged in activities
• Make time in the day for activities outside so they can connect with nature
• In the American Indian culture there is no strict set of grammar rules
• They learn through pattern and repetition
• Having classroom jobs will help them feel like they are in their tribe working
• Individual and group activities replicate the tribal circle of interaction
• These children are very generous and will always put their classmates’ needs
before their own
• Each classroom is focused on a different skill that the students would be learning
for that year
• American Indians have a great respect for age and the wisdom that comes
with old age
• Children are usually raised by their grandparents because the parents are out providing
for the family and tribe
• Children are not scolded
• they are raised to have fun and to be children
• Native Indians are comfortable with long periods of silence (meditation)
• Children may be very quiet; but they are listening
• Teachers should try and make the learning environment feel like a real-world
• These children grew up around a nature-centered living environment
• Children are taught to take care of the world around them
• They are responsible for their choices
• They fully embrace the world around them 24/7
• Manners are very important to the tribe
• American Indians reward youth with tobacco